Kids under the age of eight should be getting more exercise, according to Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture, which recommends that younger children should be physically active at least three hours every day. Previously the recommendation was two hours of exercise.
Finland's Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen says that both parents and professional child minders have a responsibility to ensure kids get three hours of daily exercise at day care, at school, doing hobbies and at home.
Grahn-Laasonen says the point of the recommendations is to make exercise part of a daily routine for kids for a lifetime of good health.
"Exercise promotes learning and provides experiences which lead to happiness and success, " Grahn-Laasonen says. "When children exercise together they develop interaction skills and connect socially, and it's healthy, too."
"Listen to your kids"
Grahn-Laasonen says parents should support and encourage their children by listening to what kinds of activities they'd like to do and make sure they have access to required equipment and gear.
The recommendations include not only how much kids should move around, but also how long kids should sit still.
According to the guidelines, parents should avoid allowing their children to be sedentary for periods longer than one hour, and even short spans of sitting should be broken up with periodical breaks to move around.
Also included in the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health's exercise recommendations, is that school-age children should be physically active at least one hour per day.
In 2005 Finland became one of the first countries in the world to issue exercise recommendations for pre-schoolers.